Despite Arsenal’s defensive renaissance over the last couple of weeks, there’s something festering in the heart of Arsenal’s back-line. Something stinky and off colour.
There’s a certain something about the Gunners’ defense that seems to poison everything it touches.
Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal’s last line of defense, used to be one of the most confident, boisterous and downright obnoxious footballers in Europe. Now he’s been reduced to a gibbering wreck, whose mentality has been compromised and his long-term future questioned.
The same is true of Thomas Vermaelen – once one of the most imposing centre-backs in the game. Nowaday’s however, he doesn’t seem to instil any fear in attacking players. Mistakes, poor decisions and a lack of conviction have blighted his game in recent months.
Per Mertesacker may be able to marshal a back four, but his lack of pace can be easily exploited. I’m not certain he’s ever likely to properly establish himself in the Premier League.
Andre Santos has been carted back to Brazil. Bacary Sagna is a shadow of his former self. Laurent Koscielny is a red card magnet. I haven’t even got to Sebastien Squillaci yet.
Hopefully you get my point. This Arsenal system doesn’t play to defender’s strengths. The system takes players in, chews them up and spits them out.
More so than any other club, Arsenal need to constantly refresh their defense to keep players on their toes and stop complacency kicking in. This summer will be no different. Let’s hope Arsene Wenger is ready to make some defensive additions to stop the slump.
There are certainly plenty of options out there. Take, for instance, Sengalese International Cheikhou Kouyate, an Anderlecht star who has earned a healthy reputation over in Belgium. It just so happens that he’s been dropping a few hints:
“I like Arsenal because they play good football. There have been enquiries before, but nothing happened. I do not want to say where I am going, but this will be my last season with Anderlecht.” (Source: Sky Sports)
This, for my money, is a good move. He’s a pacey, powerful defender, the likes of which Arsenal haven’t had around for too long. He’d partner Thomas Vermaelen/Laurent Koscielny well and may even be able to pump confidence back into the Arsenal back-line.
Arsene Wenger will have to fight off competition from Borussia Dortmund, Zenit St Petersbury and Anzhi Makhachkala, but I’d say he’d be worth it.
What’s your take? Should Arsenal be in the market for Cheikhou Kouyate?
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